The Equine Practice Rounds™ October 2015

October 2015 Contents:

  • The Poison In Your Barn – is grain killing your horse?
  • Laminitis
  • BarnPics™
  • Saddle Pads To Haiti
  • A Horse Or Just A Number
Back to The Equine Practice Rounds
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Comments 17

  1. “On his way to Idaho” is a wonderful story. Hats off to his owner – and to you Doc – for taking the time to come to understand him. As with humans, all living beings have their unique experiences and imprints that affect who they become over time. This horse deserved the respect, kindness and sensitivity that was given to him. All animals do – as do all humans. Lessons in compassion offer so much – all we have to do is listen with an open heart. Thank you Doc!

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  2. Some years ago, I was shocked when my day-to-day vet commented that beet pulp was high sugar Since it was made of sugar beets because all previous sources had recommended it as a low sugar feed for IR horses. Then, U. Kentucky came to the rescue with a webinar about horses with equine metabolic disorder. I don’t remember whether beet pulp is not made from sugar beets or whether it is what is left over after the sugar is taken out, but they specifically said those were misconceptions and recommended it as one of the best feeds for horses on a low sugar diet. That would be the no molasses added kind that you soak. Be careful of beet pulp in prepared feeds as they often add molasses in lieu of your soaking.

    Additionally, I am told that soaked beet pulp is the second most digestible feed after alfalfa (which I resist for a number of reasons starting with the comment in “My Friend, Flicka” that it is for cows). If you looked at the protein, carb and fiber percentages – and were told it was a single ingredient feed –

    If you didn’t know it was beet pulp, you would probably guess “hay” from the composition. My first experience with beet pulp was 55 years ago – as a hay substitute for a horse with heaves. This mare was able to come into “the barn” (dusty-with dirt aisles, no turn-out, 24 stall, wood, built in 1895 as the equestrian center for Biltmore House) and live on beet pulp and no hay – for years. In addition, it is cheap and the horses love it.

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      Thanks Judy. I have a very smart veterinary friend who loves sugar beet pulp and recommends it due to its “low glycemic index.” I argue with him because the lowest glycemic index sugar for horses with laminitis is NO SUGAR. This includes sugar beet pulp in addition to grain and high NSC hay (high sugar hay.)

      I also feel that sugar beet pulp is a byproduct and the manufacturers of it created the market with horse owners to create another income source for themselves. I am not against business making a profit, but why are we feeding our horses a byproduct? In my association with horses over the past 4 decades, my observation is that we humans are trying to change everything with horses. And now I see the effects of sugar on their behavior. With more clients willing to take the 2 week no-grain challenge and sharing the positive results, I am becoming more convinced that for the majority of horses (not all), removing sugars from grain, and yes, sugar beets, is in the best interest of horses.

      1. Hello, I have a mare with chronic laminitis. She has good and bad days. She recently was showing signs of neurological disease. I researched what it may be from and it most likely was a severe vitamin deficiency from holding her off of grass. I’ve been supplementing with 10,000 iu’s of vitamin e along with the daily recommendation of selenium. The neuro symptoms went away. I do use some grain (about 4 cups a day) to get her supplements in her. I would like to try the 2 weeks of no grain though. How do people give supplements if they don’t use grain? Please let me know if you have any suggestions. She really hates taking anything syringed into the mouth. THANK YOU

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          This is a common question. There are plenty of non-grain pellets (hay pellets) that some water can be added to mix up the supplements. Hay cubes also work. Most importantly, allowing the gut to go without any supplements for 2 weeks should not cause any harm to any horse. Then, after the gut has had a chance to heal, add back the supplements in a non-grain base. If your horse was prescribed Vit E by your vet, then talk to him or her first before doing this. Vit E is usually in an oil base so it should not cause inflammation especially in the small amount given.

  3. Geoff:

    Really great posts this month that go straight to my heart: (i) stop the grain!, (ii) what really causes or induces laminitis, (iii) often forgotten working animals (we support The Donkey Gambia Trust), (iv) how relationships really matter. Keep teaching: you will succeed individual by individual. See you at AAEP in Vegas?

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      Thanks John. I hope more people keep trying the 2 week no-grain challenge and realize the benefits of removing the inflammation from their gut. But I do find some unwilling to try this. For them, I ALWAYS recommend SUCCEED®. I continue to offer SUCCEED® as the only product I sell on my web site because if you need to feed grain, add SUCCEED®. Period. Doc T

  4. Hi Geoff, It’s been a while. I loved this newsletter, especially about grain and laminitis. Ha, I don’t have to take the 2 week no-grain diet. At age 24, I took my thoroughbred, Hapsburg, off the little grain that was left in his diet. I had been reducing and reducing and got left with a very small amount for him because I had it in my head that thoroughbreds have such a fast metabolism that they are the exception and need some grain. I switched him to chaffhaye and rice bran and really, to my surprise, he did not lose weight and is actually still thriving, now at 26 years old. He still eats a tonne of hay and a horse has to be well hydrated to eat that much hay or they can’t produce enough saliva to chew all of it. I hope you remember “Hap” from years ago. He’s the one with the flabby cheeks!

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      Hi Barbara – Yes! I remember you and Hapsburg. Thanks for your comment here and I’m glad you have discovered what we have seen with horses getting off of grain. Interestingly, we have noticed that some horses that don’t sweat are now sweating in our hot South Florida weather once they get off of all grain. I thought you would like to know about that. Again thanks for checking in. Doc T

  5. This is an amazing point regarding grain feed.I have had a horse who also had huge issues with tying up and all this was do to grain feed high in cereal content.Removing the grain and replacing with more hay eliminated this issue in a very short period of time.

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      Thanks John – Horses that tie up (severe muscle cramps that are painful and debilitating) should never be fed sugar / grain. They do much better with a diet low sugar hay and fat. Several horses cannot tolerate pasture due to high sugar content. This has beed associated with a genetic defect found in the DNA sequencing that dates back to the Crusades where horses were bred for large muscle mass to carry the weight of armored knights. A fascinating subject.

  6. Hello Doc T. I have a horse that was floated about a year ago (age 29). He was chewing fine before the float but after he has salivated heavily and has been spitting wads of hay when eating. I think she took off too much tooth but it should have grown back by now? He wasn’t floated by a hand file, but she used some type of electric tool. He won’t allow me to even look in his mouth, but I did get a peak of his canine? tooth. It is black which may be a second issue. Any suggestions? I don’t know who to trust anymore. Thank you

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      Older horses need special care when floating, especially if it has been a while and the teeth are sharp. I have learned to be very conservative and to do a little over several visits. One thing worth mentioning is that horse’s teeth do not grow. They erupt like the lead inside a mechanical pencil. And like that lead, when it is used up, there is no more. At 29 years, the teeth get close to end-stage and stop erupting. Only over time will the tongue strop the teeth and develop a new edge for him to grab onto the food. Until then, find out what he likes to eat and what he can eat. It is now a management issue between him and you. At least his teeth don’t hurt him anymore. He just needs to re-learn how to manipulate the food within his mouth and this takes time and experimentation in finding the right feed consistency.

      1. Thank you for the reply. I’ve been reading that it is best to float by hand especially in the senior horse. I wish I didn’t use her. Happy Thanksgiving.

I look forward to reading your comment! Doc T